Los Angeles Lakers: Cleveland

The Forum: Can the defense improve?

December, 12, 2012
By akamenetzky
To say the least, the Lakers are experiencing issues on the defensive end, and everyone is grasping for answers. Can these problems be fixed? We discuss.
Because you can never look at a game from too many angles, I tracked down some insight from Cavs Blog scribe John Krolik of the True Hoop network. Kid's still in college and something of a genius, and BK and I like to think we discovered him back in the day when we were running a now-defunct local sports site. We really didn't, but it's a great story that makes us come off like seers. Anyway, I threw five questions his way regarding the Cavs and the holiday matchup. Give what he's saying a whirl and see what you think.

1) You were on record as critical of the Shaq deal when it happened, if memory serves. As we speak, how do you think Shaq's fitting in? Has Mike Brown discovered more ways of using him or do you picture his minutes/ production continuing to drop and Brown mixing and matching front court lineup?

John Krolik: I'm not sure if my initial reaction to the Shaq deal could be called "critical," but I'd say I was skeptical from the beginning of how he'd fit in with the existing pieces on the team, especially Anderson Varejao and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Since the Cavs gave up almost nothing for him (or so it appeared at the time, as most assumed Ben Wallace would never come all the way back from the injury he sustained mid-season), and had the core of a 66-win team still intact, my assumption was that Shaq was a guy who could potentially make the team better and be safely discarded if he didn't work out. You can judge for yourself what my reactions were to Shaq before the season (why pretend I have secrets?), but here's me being (I think) cautiously optimistic about the acquisition when it happened and cautiously pessimistic about the prospect of Shaq starting about a month later.

(AK's note: After reading John's original thoughts on the Shaq trade, he's right, not nearly as pessimistic as I recall. I guess I was mixing up Krolik with someone different who thought that deal didn't really help short or long-term. Me.)

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New ESPN Los Angeles Kamenetzky Brothers Lakers PodKast

December, 23, 2009
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
Andy and Brian discuss the X-Mas Day showdown with the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Brian Windhorst, who offers thoughts on Shaq, LeBron vs. Ron Ron and the puppets. Plus, we discover a subtle way for Lakers fans to heckle LeBron!.

" Podcast Listen
The name of the show just rolls off your tongue, huh? It's times like these where we're glad our parents decided not to hyphenate names upon getting married.

Anyway, as some of you may know Brian and I have been part of ESPN's podcasting roster (or as we do it, "podKasting," with a "K") for quite some time. The launch of ESPN Los Angeles and the Land O' Lakers blog, won't change things one bit, except we'll be doing so more frequently. So we're excited about that and hope the Laker Nation feels the same. And with that, I present the first show in the new ESPN Los Angeles era!!!

The show focuses mostly around a discussion with the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Brian Windhorst, Cavs' beat writer and interview subject extraordinaire. With the Christmas game less than 48 hours in the distance, we break down some important matchups, talk about the Kobe Bryant-LeBron James "rivalry," and why the team hasn't gotten off to the same dominant start as last season. One reason? To be honest, the problem lies at least partially with Shaquille O'Neal, and as a few excerpts below demonstrate, Windhorst is equally honest in evaluating this stage of the big fella's career:

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Nick Young
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0